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UNCOVERING the original message of the Arabic Qur'an by using Lexicons compiled more than 1,000 years ago.

ISOLATING Fact from Fiction.

RECOVERING Hope and regaining the perspective where Humanity is one, God's Message is one, and our Future CAN become one we all look forward to!


Image: 14th C. Qur'an, Mamluk origin, Library of Congress; Rights obtained.

A BREAKTHROUGH project which helps understand the Qur'an AS REVEALED -not just 'as explained.'


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 217; Qur’an 37:25-49; Page 447

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

Today too, we can only do one page: This Reading has started us out on an interesting topic!

Yusuf Ali’s Translation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of this Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view.


PAGE 447 Arabic Qur’an.

We ended our last Reading with the ‘wrong-doers’ and their counterparts placed together ‘en route to the Fire,’ and we heard the command:  Halt them!   They shall be questioned.’

1.  After Verses 25- 27 describe the helpless situation which the wrong-doers and their counterparts find themselves in, Verses 28- 39 allow us to eavesdrop on the arguments which take place amongst them.  While one side sees the other as ‘agents’ of their downfall and blame them for it, the others retort that these persons never were ‘Believers’ to start with, and that ‘we had no power over you;’ in other words: 

Anyone who committed anything, did so by their own Free Will.

It is quite powerful to find, within this argument, the statement made by Qureish! They were too arrogant to leave their deities, and had accused the Messenger of being a ‘mad poet,’ and here their accusation is repeated as part of their culpability on Judgment Day.
Remember, as we said earlier, that the word ‘majnoon’ has as its root-verb ‘janna;’ the Messenger was also accused 3 times of having ‘jinnahبه جِنَّة-  -being ‘mentally deranged’ (put the word ‘janna’ in ‘Search this Site’).

After the arguments comes the sentence of painful suffering and the justice: their recompense is of their own doing…

And so ends the section of ‘Dissuasion,’ and begins the ‘Persuasion,’ as listeners still have a chance to take the right course! 

2.  After the preceding verses (which declared that ‘their recompense is of their own doing’), the next section begins with إلا—- meaning ‘except’ or ‘not so.’  Our interest is piqued:

Who are they, whose recompense is NOT of their own doing?

In Verses 40- 49 we first find mention of a category of worshippers called ‘the ‘mukhlaSs’ Worshippers of God’عباد الله المخلصين .. a category mentioned 4 times.. all in this Chapter.

In our last Reading we hastily called them ‘sincere,’ but we now have to correct that.

Because we know see the definition of the root-verb   خلص‘khalaSsa’[i]:
‘Sincere’ denotes something which is (and may always have been) pure and unaffected, while ‘mukhlaSs,’ on the other hand, denotes something that did not necessarily start out that way, but rather, was ‘purified and refined’ from whatever affected it! 
In other words, persons who are called ‘mukhlaSs’ Worshippers of God, are those who have undergone a process whereby they’ve refined their Faith in Him and purified their accountability to Him so that it remained constantly His Alone .. may we all be among them!  (See مخلص له الدين and لله الدين الخالص).

Intention and Effort throughout life:
No wonder they are of highest esteem, and also, it is no wonder that the word ‘except’ or ‘not so’ begins the section in which they are mentioned… because they shall NOT be recompensed (solely) by their deeds, but rather, shall receive rewards much higher.

3.  As to their recompense… it shall be distinguished from all others, both by being well-identified & then well-recognized; the word معلوم ‘ma’loom,’ (as Regular Readers will remember), comes from the root-verb ‘allama’ meaning ‘defined/ demarcated/ marked out’ (put allama in ‘Search this Site’). 

So their recompense is TWOFOLD: it is in what is ‘Delectable’ (such as fruit), فواكه[ii] and in being granted ‘karam’ [iii]كرم (Eminence, in Bounty and Forgiveness).  Actually, now we can truly understand the meaning of ‘Kareem,’ which denotes someone Eminent and magnanimous, generous to all AND forgiving to any who commit misdeeds.
Al Kareem is one of the attributes of our Lord.

4.  And now we arrive at the verses which conjure up sensual imagery in certain people’s minds:  a description of what awaits the Self-Purified Worshippers of God.  Note, dear Reader, that no sooner are the following verses traditionally explained, than we find the category of 'Self-Purified Worshippers of God' narrowing down to include only one segment of our population: Adult Males.  Theirs becomes an exclusive and favored 'elite,' as everyone else in society who purified themselves or worked hard to achieve this station....EVERYONE ELSE is rendered irrelevant.  But we shall try here to give Readers a good idea as to possible interpretations, before we look at the traditonal ones:

 ‘Indahum QaaSsiraatul Ttarf ‘Een’ وعندهم قاصرات الطرف عين-

The form is a feminine plural, which as Regular Readers know, is used for all things ‘feminine’.. and since ALL Arabic nouns are either masculine or feminine, ‘femininity’ will NOT denote ‘females’ unless specifically mentioned or indicated.  That is why ‘al Ssaafinaatul Jiyaad’ الصافنات الجياد HQ38:31 is understood to be a description of horses.

So, how did the Arabs of the Prophet’s time understand this verse?
Honestly… we don’t know for sure, because the concepts which evolved from these words have replaced the original in our literature and cognition.

Nevertheless, being Believers who follow the Dynamic of Iqra' in the attempt to render the static 'Compilation' into 'Qur'an,' we must simply seek and process the information:
We must stick to the Qur’anic CONTEXT.
We must research original definitions, using our more than 1,000 year old Lexicons to reach ‘as educated a guess’ as possible: the Qur'an is, after all: 'A Reminder to the Living!'
·   ‘Qaasiraat:’ Regular Readers know that the root-verb ‘qasaraقصر- ’ is related to ‘limiting, shortening, falling short, enclosing,’ or something within enclosures (remember the Etymology of ‘castle’).

·   Ttarf’’ [iv]طرف from root-verb ‘Ttarafa’ has three connotations:

-Firstly, the side or edge of something. As we see in our Lexicon, when the desert Arabs raised the flaps of their tents خباء- ‘khibaa’ to reveal the interior, they called these tents ‘Ttawaarif’: plural of ‘Ttarf.’ الطَّوَارِف من الخِباء، وهي ما رفعتَ من جوانبه لتنظُر

-Secondly, the movement of the eye, as in blinking.
-Thirdly, a dwelling (made of animal skins- similar to the first connotation).

·  ‘Een’ عِين- عَين[v]
We see in our 1,000 year old Lexicon, that this word is:
-Primarily related to the ‘eyes’ and what we ‘observe’ or what is transparent to the eye, as in a clear water-spring.
-Also, cows are called ‘een’ because of their wide eyes.
-And in the language of ‘Ttayi’[vi]  طيء the word means ‘new.’
-Also, the most ‘honored’ among people are called ‘ayn,’ plural ‘a’yaan' الأعيان.

The following story from our 1,000 year old Lexicon is quite telling: 

When asked the meaning of the word ‘Eenعين- ’ (and 'Hhoor') a renowned authority on Arabic language and poetry, ‘Abu Sa’eed al Assma’i الأصمعي (740- 831 AD/ 121- 216 A.H.) replied that he did NOT KNOW.  The compiler of our Lexicon (Ibn Faris) adds that this gentleman probably said that he did not know out of humbleness and awe in God, because he was unwilling to explain Qur’an. 
Then, after quoting a poem which uses the word ‘Een,’ Ibn Faris adds that the word also means ‘visibly accessible’ all the way through, a transparent ‘naafithah’ نافذة -which is the word we use today for a ‘glass window!’

So what are these verses about? 

·    The next verse does not spell it out for us, as it likens them to something ‘delicate, well-shielded/ protected/ preserved’:
كأنهن بيض مكنون[vii]

Here, our Lexicon gives us the connotation of an ‘egg’ but adds that the word ‘beydh’بيض— also denotes someone exceptional and dignified, worthy of being safe-guarded. 

5. So, dear Reader, before we get to the traditional explanations of these words… let us put all these concepts together...
What comes to mind as one of the six rewards mentioned on this page and well-deserved by the Worshippers of God?

A thing- such as a dwelling- with ‘self-enclosed sides’ which are transparent so one can see all the way through, perhaps being always ‘new’ to its inhabitants …OR
A creature – such as a docile animal 'wide-eyed' with ‘self-restrained vision’ ...OR
A companion most honored...OR
A female who fulfils some fantasies..?

What we understand is related to who we are, what we know, and what we would like to understand. 
Yet, the Afterlife is ALL ‘gheyb’ right now.  Unless the Qur'an tells us clearly what something is...who can be certain?

Yet some people are!  See TEN 'explanations' of these verses (open Translation tab on right), OR for other languages or 'translators,' click on this link, then make your choice of ‘Translation’ at lower left, then ‘hover’ your mouse over the Arabic.
Note that everyone follows one line of thought:

Yusuf Ali calls them ‘chaste women’ or (maidens) chaste.’
Muhammad Asad calls them ‘mates of modest gaze.’
Arberry calls them: ‘maidens restraining their glances.’

Other translations say ‘loving wives,’ ‘bashful maidens,’ and ‘damsels.’ 

These explanations do not even attempt objectivity. 

At a time when there is absolutely no mention of any FEMALE creature in the verse… only an unspecified feminine plural noun….
Does this single explanation… make sense?

Perhaps 'Heaven' is to each of us what we want it to be... and that's all well and good.  However, in explaining the Arabic words, we should NEVER RESTRICT Qur'anic concepts to our desires.
What Muslims should have at hand, are all the possible explanations, with commentators saying quite frankly:  I DON'T KNOW. 


I believe that there should be a full study, not only regarding explanations of the Qur’an, but indeed regarding ALL ‘Islamic’ literature concentrating on FOUR major areas of investigation (which would help us see the downward slope of the ‘Muslim’ mentality through time, together with the plunge in our progress).
These FOUR areas of study should be:

·   Investigating the Evolution of ‘Fatalistic concepts in ‘Islamic’ literature (which seem to understand that human effort is thwarted or aided by predestination, with Fate/ God rendering a person successful or unsuccessful in life, and then worthy or unworthy of ‘Heaven’).

·   Investigating the Evolution of ‘self-righteous’ concepts in ‘Islamic’ literature (which seem to ennoble ‘Muslims’ as it demeans everyone else).

·   Investigating the Evolution of ‘gender-related’ concepts in ‘Islamic’ literature (which seem to understand most incidents of ‘male plural’ as male gender alone.[viii]  Also, the sexual imagery which sees in certain unspecified feminine nouns ‘objects of male desire’). 

·   Investigating the Evolution of ‘supernatural’ imagery in ‘Islamic’ literature (which seems to believe in, and concern itself, with unseen forces such as ‘jinn’ and ‘magic’).

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 37:50-76.

Peace unto all!

[i] خلص:   تنقيةُ الشَّيء وتهذيبُه.
الراغب الأصفهاني
-الخالص كالصافي إلا أن الخالص هو ما زال عنه شوبه بعد أن كان فيه، والصافي قد يقال لما لا شوب فيه ويقال: خلصته فخلص.

[ii] فكه: طِيب واستطابةٍ. من ذلك الرّجُل الفَكِه: الطيِّب النَّفس.‏
ومن الباب: الفاكهة، لأنَّها تُستَطابُ وتُستطرَف.‏
ومن الباب: المُفاكهَة، وهي المُزاحة وما يُستحلَى من كلام.‏
ومن الباب: أفكَهَتِ النّاقةُ والشّاةُ، إذا دَرَّتا عند أكل الرَّبيع وكان في اللبن أدْنَى خُثُورة؛ وهو أطيَبُ اللَّبن.‏

[iii] كرم: له بابان: أحدهما شَرَفٌ في الشَّيء في نفسِه أو شرفٌ في خُلُق من الأخلاق.
-  يقال رجلٌ كريم، وفرسٌ كريم، ونبات كريم. وكَرُم السّحابُ: أتَى بالغَيث. وأرضٌ مَكرُمةٌ للنَّبات، إذا كانت جيِّدة النبات.
-  والكَرَم في الخُلْق يقال هو الصَّفح عن ذنبِ المُذنب.

[iv] طرف: أصلان: فالأوَّل يدلُّ على حدِّ الشيء وحَرفهِ، والثاني يدلُّ على حركةٍ في بعض الأعضاء.

·          فالأوَّل طَرَفُ الشيء والثوب والحائط. ويقال ناقةٌ طَرِفَة: ترعى أطرافَ المرعَى ولا تختلطُ بالنُّوق.
وقولهم: عينٌ مطروفة، من هذا؛ وذلك أن يصيبَها طَرَف شيءٍ ثوبٍ أو غيره فتَغْرَوْرِقَ دمعاً. ويُستعار ذلك حتى يقال: طَرَفَها الحُزْن.
ا. وجمع الطَّرَف أطراف.
ومن الباب: الطَّوَارِف من الخِباء، وهي ما رفعتَ من جوانبه لتنظُر، فأمَّا قولهم: جاء فلانٌ بطارفةِ عينٍ فهو من الذي ذكرناه في قولهم: طُرِفت العين، إذا أصابَها طَرَف شيءٍ فاغرورَقَتْ. وإذا كان كذا لم تكد تُبْصِر. فكذلك قولهم: بِطارِفةِ عينٍ، أي بشيءٍ  تَتَحيَّر له العينُ من كَثْرتهِ.
ومن الباب قولُهم للشيء المستحدَث: طريف؛ وهو خلافُ التَّليد، ومعناه أنَّهُ شيءٌ أُفِيدَ الآنَ في طَرَف زمانٍ قد مضى. يقولون منه اطَّرَفْتُ الشيءَ، إذا استحدثتَه، أطَّرِفه، اطِّرَافاً.
ومن الباب: الرَّجُل الطَّرِف: الذي لا يثبُت على امرأةٍ ولا صاحب. وذلك القياسُ؛ لأنَّه يطلُب الأطراف فالأطراف. والمرأة المطروفة، يقولون إنَّها التي لا تثبُت على رجلٍ واحدٍ، بل تَطّرِف الرِّجال.
ومن الباب الطِّرف: الفرس الكريم، كأنَّ صاحبَه قد اطّرَفه. وللمطّرَف فضلٌ على التَّليد.

·          وأمَّا الأصل الآخر فالطَّرْف، وهو تَحريك الجفون في النَّظَر. هذا هو الأصل ثم يسمُّون العينَ الطَّرْف مجازاً. ولذلك يسمَّى نجمٌ من النُّجُوم الطَّرْفة.

·          فأما الطِّرَاف فإنه بيتٌ من أَدَم، وهو شاذٌّ عن الأصلين اللذين ذكرناهما.

(وقال ابن الأَعرابي : الخِباءُ من شعرٍ أَو صوف , وهو دون المَظَلَّة ; كذلك حكاها ههنا بفتح الميم , وقال ثعلب عن يعقوب : من الصوف خاصة . والخِباءُ : من بُيوت الأَعراب , جمعه أَخْبِية بلا همز . وفي حديث الاعتكاف : فأَمَرَ بِخبائه فقُوِّضَ الخِباءُ : أَحد بيوت العرب من وَبَر أَو صوف . وفي حديث هندٍ : أَهْل خِباءٍ أَو أَخْباء على الشك , وقد يُسْتَعْمل في المنازل والمساكن ; ومنه الحديث : لأَنه أَتى خِباءَ فاطمة وهي في المدينة ; يريد منزلها . وأَصل الخِباء الهمز إَنه يُخْتَبَأُ فيه) .

[v] عين: أصلٌ واحد صحيح يدلُّ على عُضوٍ به يُبْصَر ويُنظَر، ثم يشتقُّ منه، والأصلُ في جميعه ما ذكرنا.
قال الخليل: العين النّاظرة لكلِّ ذي بَصَر. والعين تجمع على أعيُن وعُيون وأعيان.
والعائن: الذي يَعِين، ورأيت الشَّيء عِياناً، أي معايَنة. ويقولون: لقيتُه عَيْنَ عُنَّة، أي عِياناً. وصنعت ذاك عَمْدَ عَيْنٍ، إذا تعمّدتَه. والأصل فيه العين الناظرة، أي إنّه صنع ذلك بعينِ كلِّ مَن رآه. وهو عَبْدُ عينٍ، أي يَخدُم ما دام مولاه يراه.
ومن الباب العين: الذي تبعثُه يتجسَّس الخبرَ، كأنَّه شيءٌ تَرَى به ما يَغِيب عنك. ويقال: اذهَبْ فاعتَنْ لنا، أي انظُرْ. ويقال: ما بها عَيَنٌ، متحركة الياء، تريد أحداً له عين، فحرّكت الياء فرقاً.
ومن الباب العين الجاريةُ النّابعة من عيون الماء، وإنّما سمِّيت عيناً تشبيهاً لها بالعين النّاظرةِ لصفائها ومائها.
ومن الباب عَيْنُ السِّقاء. قال الخليل: يقال للسِّقاء إذا بَلِي ورقَّ موضعٌ منه: قد تعيَّن. وهذا أيضاً من العَين، لأنه إذا رقّ قرُب من التخرُّق فصار السِّقاء كأنّه يُنظر به
ويقال سِقاء عَيَّنٌ، إذا كانت فيه كالعُيون، وهو الذي قد ذكرناه.
إنّ العيِّن الجَديد بلغة طيٍّ. وهذا عندنا مما لا معنَى له، إنّما العيِّن الذي به عُيون وهي التي ذكرناها من عيون السِّقاء.
ومن باقي كلامهم في العَين العِينُ: البَقَر، وتوصف البقرة بسَعَة العين فيقال: بقرة عيناء. والرّجُل أعين. قال الخليل: ولا يقال ثورٌ أعْين. وقال غيره: يقال ثورٌ أعين.
ويقال قوافٍ عِينٌ. وسئل الأصمعيُّ عن تفسيرها فقال: لا أعرِفُه. وهذا من الوَرع الذي كان يستعمله في تركه تفسيرَ القرآن، فكأنّه لم يفسِّر العِينَ كما لم يفسِّر الحُور لأنَّهما لفظتان في القرآن. قال الله تعالى: {وَحُورٍ عِينٍ . كأَمْثَال اللُّؤْلُؤِ المَكْنُون} [الواقعة 22- 23]، إِنِّما المعنى في القوافي العِينِ أنّها نافذةٌ كالشَّيء النافذ البصر. قال الهُذليّ :
بكلامِ خَصْمٍ أو جدالِ مُجادلٍ  *** غَلِقٍ يُعالِجُ أو قوافٍ عينِ
ومن الباب قولهم: أعيان القَوم، أي أشرافهم، وهمْ قياسُ ما ذكرناه، كأنَّهم عيونُهم التي بها ينظرون، وكذلك الإخوة، قال الخليل: تقول لكلِّ إخوةٍ يكونون لأبٍ وأُمٍّ ولهم إخوةٌ من أمّهات شتّى: هؤلاء أعيانُ إخوتهم. وهذا أيضاً مقيسٌ على ما ذكرناه. وعِينَةُ كلِّ شيء: خيارُه، يستوي فيه الذكر والأنثى، كما يقال عَيْنُ الشيء وعِينَتُه، أي أجودُه؛ لأن أصفَى ما في وجه الإنسان عينُه.
ومن الباب: العَين، وهو المال العَتِيد الحاضر؛ يقال هو عَينٌ غير دَين، أي هومال حاضرٌ تراه العيونُ. وعينُ الشَّيء: نفسُه. تقول: خذ دِرْهمَك بعينه.

[vi] A famous Christian-Arab tribe of whom the pre-Islamic figure of Haatem ibn Abd-Allah al Taa’i is most famous for his generosity.

[vii] بيض: فالأصل البَيَاض من الألوان. يقال ابيضَّ الشّيءُ. وأمّا المشتقُّ منه فالبَيْضَة للدّجاجةِ وغيْرِها، والجمع البَيْض.
ومن الاستعارة قولهم للعزيز في مكانِه: هو بَيضَة البلَد، أي يُحفَظ ويُحصَّن كما تُحفَظ البيَضة.
كن:  يدلُّ على سَتْرٍ أو صون. يقال كنَنْتُ الشيءَ في كِنِّهِ، إذا جعلتَه فيه وصُنتَه. وأكننتُ الشّيءَ: أخفيتُه. والكِنانة المعروفة، وهي القياس.. ومن الباب الكانون، لأنَّه يستُر ما تحتَه.
فأمَّا الكَنَّةُ فشاذّةٌ عن هذا الأصل، ويقال إنَّها امرأة الابن.

[viii]despite the fact that the male plural, linguistically, and often even contextually, clearly denotes males AND females!

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